Denny Cordell

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Denny Cordell (1 August 1943 – 18 February 1995)[1] was an English record producer. He is notable for his late 1960s and early 1970s productions of hit singles for The Moody Blues, The Move, Procol Harum and Joe Cocker.

Career[edit]

Born Dennis Cordell-Lavarack in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he grew up in England. He met Chris Blackwell when he was aged twenty one, and started to work for Blackwell's label, Island Records, as a producer. When Cordell started to work more closely with The Moody Blues, he decided to leave Island and become an independent producer.

Cordell produced the Moody Blues' debut album The Magnificent Moodies on the Decca record label in 1965. The record contained the hit "Go Now" (produced separately by Alex Wharton), which had been a #1 hit on the UK Singles Chart a year earlier. This was followed up with hits for Cordell producing The Move, Georgie Fame, Procol Harum and Joe Cocker (all but Fame were Essex/Straight Ahead Productions artists). On the back of his success with Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends", Cordell moved his operation to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and started up Shelter Records, with session piano player, Leon Russell.

He enjoyed success with Shelter, signing J. J. Cale, Phoebe Snow, Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, amongst others. He is also known as an early mentor of Tony Visconti.

In the late 1970s he started up the Flippers roller skating boogie palace in Los Angeles, California. In the 1980s he turned to his other interest, horseracing, but in the 1990s he took up producing records again, and once more worked for Island. Among others he helped produce The Cranberries, who wrote a song in his tribute called "Cordell" (1996), and Melissa Etheridge's album, Yes I Am.[2]

Cordell died in February 1995 in Dublin, Ireland from lymphoma at the age of 51. He was the father of the musicians Tarka Cordell, and Milo Cordell of the band The Big Pink.[3]

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